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Virginia Lawmakers Reject Proposal To Restore Rights To Ex-Convicts

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A proposal from Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to restore civil rights to nonviolent felons has been rejected by fellow Republicans in the House of Delegates.

Less than a week after McDonnell surprised lawmakers by urging them to support restoring rights such as running for public office and serving on a jury to some categories of ex-convicts, a GOP-dominated House subcommittee has killed the legislation.

The move came in spite of support from Virginia's top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who testified in support. Cuccinelli, who is running for governor in this year's election, advocated putting a specific list of nonviolent felonies eligible for the restoration in the state's code.

In addition to testifying in favor of the legislation, Cuccinelli issued two official opinions aimed at strengthening the power of the governor's office to restore civil rights to felons who have served their full sentences; opinions he might make use of, if he's elected to the office. 

House Democrats, including Del. Charnielle Herring of Alexandria, were disappointed at the proposal's rejection.

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